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Month: March 2017

Batman Forever

Batman Forever

Unlike Garfield, I don’t really hate Mondays. I love the predictability of a routine, and for me, that’s what Monday brings. Plus, when you have little kids, the weekends are not for sleeping in and leisurely brunches. Yes, we get to watch cartoons in our pajamas instead of rushing out the door to school, but I’m still up well before 7am.  So, happy Monday! This weekend was more challenging than most since Kirk took his first real trip since Sydney was born. He headed off to St. Louis with some friends for a BBQ trip- I am so glad he got to go. Kirk is one of those people who gets really energized by being around others, whereas I prefer to stay at home and read a book, watch tv, have a glass of wine, etc. I’m not opposed to being social, I am just a bit introverted and need that alone time to recharge. Anyway, I had the kids by myself all weekend and we did not die. Success! Everyone even got a bath or shower at some point. Our really, REALLY awesome neighbors even had us over for a playdate Saturday afternoon (aka I invited myself over) and kept Reid for dinner while I ran across the street to put Sydney to bed. The BEST gift you can give a parent of more than one child is to keep an eye on other kids while she deals with one of them. So, I’m not eager for Kirk to travel again anytime soon, but I can certainly handle it.

On another note, Reid is now the age where he gets invited to birthday parties and birthdays are celebrated at school. He frequently comes home with small bags of little toys, pencils, sometimes a treat. I have a love/hate relationship with this whole idea, although of course I’ll do it when Reid turns 4 in a few weeks. I love that Reid gets so excited about a pencil with rainbows on it (because he gets to use the sharpener mounted on our basement wall), or some Mickey Mouse stickers, or a little piece of candy. I hate that we now have about 55 semi-sharpened pencils and my floor is covered in stickers. Once Reid went to a friend’s birthday and the goodie bag he received was amazing. I mean, it rivaled the Oscars swag bags. A superhero cape and mask, a really cool royal icing cookie, a Superman doll that he still sleeps with, and a kit to design and make your own superhero masks. And that’s just the stuff I remember!

Anyway, last week Reid came home from school with another birthday goodie bag. This one contained temporary tattoos. Now, I was surprised that Reid wanted to put these on. He’s kind of weird about stuff being on his face, and he wanted it on his cheek. He also wanted one on my cheek. No problem, these are temporary tattoos. So we put them on, and I felt like a good mom because it made Reid really happy that we had matching Batman tattoos.

Until that night when I washed my face, expecting it to come off.  It didn’t.

I washed. I scrubbed. It remained as bold and bright as it had ever been.

It seemed like such a rookie mom mistake. Why the hell would I put this on my face? I received a few comments on how to remove it (rubbing alcohol, baby oil, coconut oil) but I decided to leave it for a bit because Reid liked it. I went to crossfit the next morning (hoping the sweat would help, along with a shower afterwards) but no such luck.

This was after several face washes (including one exfoliation), a sweaty workout, and some scrubbing. Eventually, I did get it off with an oil-based makeup remover. Reid asked me over the weekend to try the Finding Dory tattoos he got. I said sure, why not!

I put this one on my hand.

34 trips around the sun 

34 trips around the sun 

I turned 34 over the weekend. It was a pretty tame event- being on this elimination diet cuts down on a lot of party favorites, like champagne and cake. I ended up tweaking a paleo recipe and made my own damn cake-  carrot cake layered cheesecake. It. Was. Phenomenal.


It was so good. I couldn’t believe it! And, my family liked it too, and they are not ones to experiment with alternative flours or gluten-free anything. So that was definitely a win.

It was kind of weird to celebrate without my usual indulgences though. I’m a big fan of “go ahead, it’s your birthday.” Although I have trouble putting the brakes on- it can turn into “go ahead, it’s your birthday weekend/week/month” and things kind of snowball from there. So, aside from my little cake detour, there wasn’t anything off my elimination diet plan. And the birthday cake didn’t have any ingredients that were not allowed, but the honey/maple syrup content was higher than I should have had in a day.

But hey, it’s my birthday. 🎉

This past year has been a good one. I spent half of it pregnant, which was worth it for the end result but not something I care to do again, especially during the summer. We did some traveling, mostly for weddings or to see family, and expanded our own family from 3 to 4. There were some rough moments (see: third trimester during the hottest summer in years, also threenager tantrums) but overall things were good.

This upcoming year I would like to focus a little more on myself. That sounds kind of selfish, but I spent about 90% of my brain power thinking about Kirk or the kids. I’m currently writing this on my phone from nap jail (aka the glider in the nursery) because Sydney won’t sleep without being held this afternoon and my tiny girlfriend is a hot mess without a nap.

So yeah, I don’t do a lot for myself. I’d love to meet a friend for coffee or a drink more often, maybe actually blow dry my hair more than twice a month, get manicures regularly, that sort of thing. I find myself wanting to do things other than talk to people shorter than my hip, and that is ok! I felt a little guilty at first, because I chose to quit my job and stay at home. But I think that 34 is the Year of Sarah (not unlike the Summer of George?). Looking forward to what this year has in store for me (starting with a cooler summer and a drink by the pool)!

Two Weeks

Two Weeks

I seriously hate hot weather. I’m not one of those people who can lay out on the beach for hours- first, because I instantly become a hot/sweaty mess, and second, because I have a horrible tendency to get sunburned. Once, Kirk and I were driving in a convertible during the summer to a friend’s wedding, which was about an hour away. I totally forgot that I could get sunburned in the car, and ended up with a seatbelt outline across my chest, which was only accented by my strapless dress that I wore. It was terrible.

That said, one nice part about the summer is that my family is relatively healthy. It’s not a continuous stream of runny noses, coughs, ear infections, and visits to the doctor, with the occasional serious ailment thrown in. That is the season we’re currently in- and I am over it. I would love 24 hours free of coughing and nose wiping. Spring can’t come soon enough.

So as of yesterday, I’m officially 1/3 of the way through the elimination diet. Yes, I am keeping a countdown on my bathroom mirror like I’m in prison. Honestly though, I *think* it’s getting easier. Some of the habits, like a nightly glass (or two, or three) of wine are slowly fading. That’s not to say I don’t still want a little cabernet stress-reliever, but the habitual part of that is fading away. Some habits are still very much there, like having a snack after dinner. Still can’t break that one, although the food has changed from cookies/brownies/ice cream/garbage to a rice cake with cashew or almond butter. So, I suppose that’s an improvement! The hardest part of this is still giving up eggs. My breakfast options are pretty limited without eggs- I think this will be the first food I’ll reintroduce when the diet is over.

I’ve noticed an improvement in my energy, especially that afternoon 2pm-3pm slump. I do think the lack of sugar and booze is helping me sleep better. I think the 5 month old baby is helping me sleep worse, sadly. But, usually after I get up with her (for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time) I fall back asleep quickly which didn’t happen before this diet. I’m also down about 3-ish pounds, which is a nice perk. Weight loss wasn’t my main goal here (although with the absence of wine and sugar, I figured I’d shed at least a couple lb’s) but I’m happy to see some of it go.

One improvement I’d still like to make is getting more veggies in my diet. Usually, if I’m looking for veggies in the morning, I’ll make a veggie frittata or veggie hash with some over-easy eggs. Not an option here. So this is something I’d really like to focus on in the next few weeks!

Off to go shove some carrots down my throat, although they are really just a vehicle for baba ganoush.

 

Crossfit and cookies

Crossfit and cookies

Anyone familiar with crossfit knows that this is the Open season. The Open is how athletes qualify for the Crossfit Games during the summer. Well, actually they qualify for regionals, and at regionals they compete for a spot in The Games. The Open is 5 weeks long, and each week there is a different workout announced that must be completed over the weekend. They are typically pretty hard, grueling workouts that require both mental toughness and physical strength to get through.

This week’s workout was no different. It involved weighted walking lunges (this autocorrected to “lunches” which would have been preferable), dumbbell power cleans, hanging knee raises, and pull-ups. Most of the people at my gym complete the workout on Friday night, where there’s tons of people cheering, food, drinks, and generally a fun atmosphere. But Kirk also does Crossfit and was going to do this workout Friday night, and apparently leaving your kids at home alone at 3.5 and 5 months is “too young” and “irresponsible parenting” so I did it this morning with my friend Gretchen who is nearing the end of her third trimester.

I got smoked by her! She is absolutely awesome. When I was in that stage of pregnancy, I basically waddled around the gym doing a lighter workout. This lady gave absolutely 100% and even lapped the two (pretty strong) guys that had joined us for the workout. How awesome is that?

On another topic, today is parent-teacher conferences at school so Reid is home with us all day. When I got home from the gym, Reid started asking politely (demanding) that we make cookies. At 7am. We had a long day ahead of us, so I didn’t want to start the battles quite this early. Plus, I had a recipe from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind that I wanted to try!


They turned out great! I made some changes to the recipe and would make a few more next time. But overall, they are SO simple and involve very little skill! Try these immediately.

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies (adapted from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind)

Makes 12-18 cookies

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 2.5 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup almond butter (or cashew, sun butter, peanut, etc.)
  • Scant 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Put flaxseed and water in a small bowl and whisk together. Let sit for 5 minutes until it reaches a gel-like consistency.
  2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3.  Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium until smooth.
  4. Scoop out onto the baking sheet, about 1-2 tablespoon dollops, leaving a couple inches in between. Dough will be very sticky and delicious.
  5. Bake each sheet separately for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be puffy when they come out of the oven but solidify as they cool. Once they have cooled a bit, remove with a spatula and place on cooking rack to finish.
  6. Store covered for up to 3 days, if you don’t eat them all in one sitting.

Enjoy!

The time I wanted to live in the basement

The time I wanted to live in the basement

When I got pregnant with Reid, I had a very clear vision of what my life would be like. After all, I had plenty of baby experience with my sweet nephew, so I knew exactly what to do! Kirk and I decided about halfway through the pregnancy that I would leave my position at the prosecutor’s office (which was a kick ass job, by the way) and stay home with our baby. It’s what I wanted and he was cool with it. The baby and I would lounge around the house together, play at the park, take leisurely strolls around the neighborhood, etc. Spoiler: this is a very unrealistic view of the first few months of having a newborn, especially your first.

About 4 weeks before Reid was born, Kirk’s dad died suddenly. For anyone who knew Dick, he was an absolute force. His mere presence filled the room. I loved being around him- there was something about his self-assuredness that I found incredibly comforting. He was teaching Kirk all about the family business (at which Kirk had been working for a few years) and how it was run. Now, there was a huge, gaping hole in our lives. So with a few weeks until my due date, Kirk unexpectedly took over his family business.

Reid was born (against his will, thanks to an induction) on Monday, May 6. On Tuesday, I had an absolute breakdown in the hospital. I told Kirk that this is where I live now- in the maternity ward- because there are nurses and people to help me here. He said we have to go home eventually. The nurses basically had to kick us out on Wednesday. I figured what I was feeling was pretty normal- just my hormones all out of whack and finding their balance again. Give it time, I thought.

I tried giving it time. For a couple weeks I tried to get myself together. Breastfeeding was so much harder than I thought it would be, and I sighed with relief when the pediatrician suggested we try formula. Reid cried ALL THE TIME. Where was my blissful, sleeping baby? He would scream from 6pm-10pm, every night. Since the weather was nice, Kirk frequently took him outside on a walk to calm him down. It worked like 30% of the time. Sometimes in the morning, I would take Reid outside because the crying wasn’t as loud out there. I hated this new life. This was NOTHING like I had imagined. I resented my baby.

I coped with this by being away from Reid when I could. If someone came over, I handed them the baby and went downstairs to the basement (where the guest room was) to take a nap. Everyone told me to “sleep when you can” so I figured I should sleep all the time. And I was tired. I couldn’t seem to find energy to do anything. I was crying several times a day, but couldn’t figure out why. I thought, “this is my life now. I live in the basement, apart from my family, and I hate it.” Kirk and Reid shared our bedroom, and Kirk did all the middle-of-the-night feedings. Did I mention how much I love him, and what a saint he is?

So basically, I felt almost no emotion. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t exactly sad, I just…was. Frequently I became anxious over small things, like Kirk leaving for work in the morning. Or Reid sleeping too much or not enough, eating too much or not enough, basically standard baby things. I am a total TV junkie (name a show and I’ve probably seen at least one episode) and I wouldn’t even turn it on because I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I think that’s when Kirk more or less forced me to call my OB and reach out to a friend who had trouble after her first baby was born. My OB prescribed some anti-depressants, which could take up to 6 weeks to fully kick in. Awesome. My friend recommended her therapist, Dr. K, and I made an appointment for a few days later.

Dr. K had me fill out a survey indicating whether you seem to have postpartum depression/anxiety or not. I had a pretty high score on the quiz- I mean, I am a good student after all. I cried for almost the whole hour and kept apologizing for being a mess. She was fantastic throughout the whole meeting- and told me that newborn babies are sometimes hard to like. They take without giving, and it’s especially hard to “treasure each moment” when they are purple-faced and screaming constantly. That made me feel so much better and like less of a failure.

I continued to see Dr. K frequently, and we figured out the correct dosage of the medication I had been taking. She helped me with some cognitive therapy as well. Very, very slowly I started to feel better. I felt not exactly confident as a mother, but adequate. Everyone was still alive, including me. I started doing normal things, like taking in the mail each day (yes, this is how bad it had become). One day, I held Reid for his entire nap. I could have put him down in the bassinet, but I wanted to hold my baby. This was a huge turning point for me!

I still take some medication, especially after Sydney was born. It was much better and less intense the second time around- I knew what to look for, how to cope, and we started medication immediately after birth (I went off of it during the pregnancy). I wasn’t ashamed like I was the first time, barely able to tell my friends and family. I even took in the mail and watched TV. I know this is kind of a long story, and this is incredibly difficult for me to share. It’s not the best time in our lives- Kirk and I say that we basically blacked out from May 6 to the 4th of July. But I discovered that so many of my friends had gone through this too, in varying degrees. I had no clue, because people just don’t talk about it. I never thought this would happen to me (see: clear vision of life with baby). But it did, and I got through it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a new baby (beyond the usual crazy newborn stuff), please reach out. Information and help can be found here, or contact your OB. This is NOT the way your life is now. It does get better.